Family heating and cooling is a major industry; find ways on how you can help the environment through these 10 environment-friendly measures.
Many homeowners are becoming more conscious of their home’s carbon footprint and its effect on the environment. With the list of new-age dangers brought about by global warming among others, the urge to go green with your family heating and cooling is something all of us can do to help save the world, and even our pockets. It will also involve other aspects of our home, so be ready for a lifestyle change.
Energy is crucial in our day-to-day life, be it in family heating and cooling, transportation, powering our appliances and lighting. There are lots of ways to save money and energy by just doing some minor changes in our routines.
The following ten tips can help you start your green initiatives:
- Choose CFLs over incandescent light bulbs.
Using compact fluorescent light bulbs or CFLs is an excellent way to start for any newbie in the green movement. By replacing your current incandescent light bulbs with this one, you light up your home without endangering the environment. But since they have mercury traces, bring them to a recycling center for disposal.
- Lower the heat.
Lower your water heater’s temperature to 50’C or 120’F. For uninsulated water heaters, cover it with an insulating blanket. For gas and uninsulated water heaters, make sure there’s enough room to vent out the air. And don’t put a blanket on any venting pipes.
- Secure an Energy Audit
Contact an air conditioning contractor or a representative from the utility company to schedule your home for an energy audit. By having this audit, you’ll find out how and where you waste energy at home or any parts of the home that lacks sufficient insulation. By following their recommendations, you can likely get rebates from the company or even a tax credit from the state.
- Adjust your family heating and cooling according to the time of the year.
Purchase a programmable thermostat. You can set it to a low setting during the day when no one is in the house to save on both money and energy. You can also set it to low heating at night. Make adjustments on your air conditioner so it can cool your home efficiently even during the peak of summer. Use shades or drapes to prevent heat from escaping during winter and keep it out during summertime. You can also open windows in the evening to allow the cool evening air to get in during summer but remember to close it during the day.
- Turn off everything that is not in use.
Educate all family members to turn off all electrical appliances when not in use. Remember that even if you’re not using gadgets but you left them on, they still consume energy and give off carbon dioxide in the atmosphere while costing you money by burning fuel, gas or electricity. Also, go for an equipment with the ENERGY STAR label to enjoy higher energy efficiency and savings.
- Use Power Strips.
These power strips are environment-friendly and can help you save money. Devices with transformer boxes or digital readouts should be plugged into power strips when not in use and turned off too. As mentioned earlier, they still use energy even if you’re not using it. By having a power strip, you can start enjoying a 10% reduction on your monthly energy bill.
One more thing, when it comes to computers, shutting it down completely can cut down energy costs as well as minimize negative impact to the environment. This measure is effective and most noticeable in offices and various institutions.
- Go eco-friendly when you travel.
Transportation is a major source of pollution. Go for car pools and public transport rather than using your private vehicle every time you leave the house. If possible, why not travel by bicycle. It will not only protect the environment and not cost you fuel, it’s also a good form of exercise so you stay in excellent shape.
- Buy local. Utilize your own shopping bag and buy in bulk.
Food and shopping consume energy in the form of transportation, processing and storage. If possible, buy local and buy in bulk. You minimize use of packaging when buying in volume. And always bring your own cloth shopping bag when shopping to avoid using plastic to carry all your goods home.
- Save water.
Water is a valuable commodity especially when it requires to be heated. Turn off the shower while shaving, shampooing or soaping or simply take shorter showers. Also, putting a water-saver nozzle on all faucets and showerheads can reduce water use. When shaving or brushing, turn off the water too. And lastly, cold water will do when washing your clothes. Dry your clothes on a line so you can avoid using the dryer.
- Environment-friendly landscaping.
There’s no need to use potable water in watering the plants. If you can collect rainwater, use it to water your plants. Xeriscaping is likewise handy when it comes to landscaping.
Calculate your home’s carbon footprint upon knowing all of these things. You finally have an idea of your home’s total carbon dioxide emission each year. There are different calculators you can use on the web to calculate for carbon footprint. Try the ones by the Environmental Protection agency, My Footprint, Terrapass, Native Energy and the Bonneville Environmental Foundation for starters.
Start your green effort with your family heating and cooling, and over time, you’d start seeing and reaping all the benefits these green measures have to offer.